Over the past few years, Austin has developed a reputation for pop culture screen prints. It’s become part of Austin geek culture.
Austin Books is a time-tested expression of that culture. The store has been around for as long as I can remember, and just keeps getting bigger.
Recently, the business expanded with a couple of extra arms, through Outlaw Moon Games & Toys and Guzu Gallery.
Guzu Gallery is an art gallery and retail store that exists “to give fans an opportunity to view and purchase lowbrow artwork, including limited edition vinyl toys, art books, prints and original artwork showcased in the gallery,” explains Gallery Director Vince Torres.
The idea of the gallery originated in 2012 with Austin Books and Comics. The owners had begun to see there was a growing amount of product out there related to the culture of lowbrow artwork. In fact, there was enough product to justify opening a new store, distinguished from Austin Books.
The idea was to have a gallery space, host shows, and show art work. Torres explained, “We’re not the typical upscale gallery. We pride ourselves on being something that’s more accessible to the average fan.”
Previously, Guzu Gallery held art shows every three months. But recently, things have been picking up and shows run every 3-4 weeks.
Each show is initiated with a gallery opening, featuring free beer and a live DJ, bands, or both. Each show has a specific theme. Last October, Guzu had a horror theme. Last April, they had a theme devoted to Godzilla, and their next theme is the 80s. I’ve been to some of these gallery openings and they’re actually a lot of fun. I try to clear my schedule every time Guzu has one.
The art displays feature screen prints, sculptures, and custom made toys from around the world, as well as work by Austin artists. These art pieces are for sale at the gallery during the opening and regular business hours.
If you visit on a regular day, not during one of their parties, the art is still for sale and displayed in the gallery in the back room. There are also additional prints left over from previous shows for sale, including art from Austin artists Tim Doyle and the legendary Daniel Johnston.
Guzu also sells art books. Here’s a secret about me: If I can’t figure out what type of present to get someone, I always get an art book that fits that person. It always looks classy on a coffee table and most of the time no one expects it…although that will change when they read this article.
A lot of unique vinyl toys can be found in the front half of Guzu Gallery. In recent years, thanks to companies like Kid Robot, the movement of vinyl toys as art has recently picked up and become less of an underground movement. If you were in an office or cube farm, you’ve probably seen a desk with a type of stylized pop culture toy. It has become a pretty popular type of decoration that most people don’t think of as art, but it is.
Guzu Gallery is a really neat place to visit, whether you’re going to find a neat gift for someone, or check out some rad art pieces. I highly recommend their gallery openings, which you can track on their Facebook Events page. Guzu may be a new store, but they’ve already garnered respect for representing the pop and geek culture of Austin.
Guzu Gallery is located at 5000 N Lamar next to Austin Books & Comics. Their next show is on August 1, 2014, called “Children of the 80s.” It features original screen prints and custom toys based on pop culture, cartoons and toys of the 80s.
Follow Guzu gallery at GuzuGallery.com, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
Have you popped into Guzu Gallery yet, or been to one of their events?